The Paranoia Complex (Gremlin) Review | Your Sinclair - Everygamegoing

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The Paranoia Complex
By Gremlin
Spectrum 48K

Published in Your Sinclair #43

The Paranoia Complex

1984 may have passed without a hint of the doom, gloom and general unpleasantness that was prophesied for it. But now you have the chance to experience what could have been within the confines of your MFI computer desk. How? Just play this latest release from Gremlin, Paranoia Complex, and you'll see what I mean.

The idea is that you're a resident of the paranoia Complex, an area under the control of Friend Computer. Not, as you might initially think, a lovable, dependable Speccy but a power-crazed, Big Brotheresque machine, something the YS proletariat are very familiar with.

In order to prove your allegiance to the computer, and thus avoid being carted off by it minions, your job is to track down and zap the members of a terrorist group who are trying to infiltrate the complex. While you're doing this you're also meant to be collecting the parts to build a robot. How this relates to the rest of the plot I'm not sure, but having got this far such things seem trivial.

What follows is a rather crude arcade adventure. Much of it seems to revolve around needing the lavatory at key moments in the game, something which never happens in George Orwell books. Well not often anyway. A plentiful supply of loo-roll is therefore vital, and this can be purchased at terminals, along with extra equipment, clean underwear and other essentials. Your appetite also features heavily, and this is satisfied by buying and programming food-cards.

There are dozens of other features to get to grips with, but after a few hours playing the one that springs most vividly to mind is the personality test. Every time you cross a Control Station or bump into one of the computer's guards you are asked one or more questions, something along the lines of "Are you happy? (Yes/ No)". This is to make sure you are still a fan of the regime. The trouble is that the correct answers are blatantly obvious, and as the questions start repeating after a short time they start to get very irritating. This reflects poorly on the rest of the game, which was never that great to begin with.

Although the basic structure is sound, Paranoia Complex's naffo graphics, grubby presentation and numerous minor irritations make it a thorough let-down to play.

A limp maze game with little going for it. I'd rather have my wisdom teeth out again.

Jonathan Davies

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